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Can Data be Recovered From a Flood Damaged Hard Drive?

Wet Hard Drive

Wet Hard DriveSchrock Innovations is Nebraska’s leader in data recovery services, so we have seen just about everything you can imagine.  One of the most heart-breaking situations is recovering data from a hard drive that was damaged by flood waters.

The good news is that your hard drive has seals and gaskets that reduce the amount of moisture (and more importantly debris) that can get into the most important areas of your drive.  With that said, hard drives are not water-proof at all.  Your data can most likely be recovered from your flood-damaged computer or external hard drive if you follow these steps:

  1. Do not try to power up the hard drive at all.  Just one attempt can grind silt, mud particles o other debris into the platters and forever destro your data.  If this happens, there is no possibility of data recovery.
  2. Get your damaged hard drive to a recovery center as soon as it is possible to safely do so.  Internal corrosion will set in as quickly as 24 hours after the drive begins to dry.
  3. If you are in a flood emergency, be sure to ask for any natural disaster discounts.  Schrock Innovations offers 50% off data recovery on flood damaged hard drives and other devices.

What Happens to a Hard Drive or Flash Drive in Flood Water?

If your hard drive, flash drive, external or memory card is submerged in clean, pure water, data recovery is actually pretty easy in a professional lab.  Flood water is never pure or clean though.  There will be everything from mud to sand to human waste in the water.  These impurities conduct electricity that damages sensitive microchips and damages the connections needed to extract your data.

Corroded Hard Drive HeadsOnce the flood water recedes your hard drive will begin to dry again.  As it does, corrosion will begin to set in.  This corrosion will degrade electrical connections, create physical barriers for the drive’s sensitive internal components and can even cause the drive’s motor to seize up.

Many people who have lost so much to a flood will try to power on their computer or hard drive to see if they can get anything off of the device.  This is a CRITICAL mistake.  Often times the damage done by this initial power up is worse than the actual flood damage.  If the memory chips in your flash drive become damaged due to a short or your hard drive’s platters become physically damaged your data can be lost forever.

How Can Schrock Recover Your Flood Damaged Drive and Get Your Data Back?

The first step in the data recovery process is to remove the circuit board from the back of your hard drive or the casing from your flash / solid state drive.

On a mechanical hard drive there are gaskets that block the largest entrances into the drive.  There is a breathing hole in the top cover that will allow water and debris into the drive, so even if the gaskets are in good shape we still can’t power up the hard drive.

The circuit board is then cleaned and tested independently of the hard drive to ensure it is functioning.

Next, the cover of the hard drive is removed in our clean environment so we can inspect the platters and the heads.  If there is a need to clean these surfaces after inspection, we will do so.

After and damaged circuit boards, heads, and motors are repaired or replaced, the drive is reassembled and powered on.

Even after all of this work in most cases regular computers will not see the hard drive.  We use special hard drive imaging devices to work with your hard drive in ways a regular computer can not to extract your data on to a clean, stable device.

How Much Does it Cost to Recover a Flood Damaged Hard Drive?

The average cost of a data recovery is directly dependent on the number of repair actions that are needed to access your data.  After Schrock’s discounts for flood damage data recovery, data can be recovered or as little as $200.  Typically the cost will be between $600 and $900, depending on how much work is required to access your data.

Keep in mind that at Schrock you only pay if we are successful.  There is no risk to you for us to evaluate your device and get you a quote on repair.  Additionally, Schrock also has special pricing for computer repairs and new computers if your technology was damaged in the flood.

Contact Schrock Innovations today at 402-934-9423 if you have questions, drop your drive off at any of our 3 convenient locations, or ship your drive to us at:

Schrock Innovations Omaha
16909 Burke Street
STE129
Omaha,NE 68118

Be sure to include your information in the box with your drive.

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